Singing the Delta Blues.

 I've loved blues music ever since I was a kid.  My first CD (yes, I remember when CD's first came out.  I was in 8th grade. I also remember my cassette album). It was a Muddy Waters acoustic album.  Raw, mournful, Delta blues.  

If you know me, you know that I started learning guitar about 6 months ago.  Are there any kids who doesn't imagine themselves playing guitar? Rocking out in front of the crowd?  Playing around the campfire while the other camp counselors look over longingly?  At 47, I wondered if I was too old to start.  Neuroscientists say that it gets harder to learn new things as you get older because your synapses don't fire as well.  It's harder to build neural networks in your brain.  It is hard - but not impossible. 

Since then I've come a long way - longer than I thought I would.  In a lifetime of cool hobbies, guitar is the most fun and the most consuming.  There are only few things you can do that translate into pure joy - and music is one of them.  Playing music with other people is like talking in a different language, with different words, and different skill levels. But you connect on a level that's hard to describe.  

I don't have much natural talent. My fingers are stiff and my brain is not wired right.  But, as anyone will tell you, I am a little OCD and I work hard.  So I practice with purpose and ferocity. I watch lots of Youtube videos.  I think about playing while I'm driving in the car and listen to tapes. It's good therapy for my mind to take it away from cases, deadlines, and problems. 

Early on I decided that I would perform in front of other people.  After all, it's not just playing that was on the bucket list - it was playing in front of other people.  I figured that since I was accustomed to getting up in front of people that I would be nervous but I could deal with it.  I told my playing buddy Mickey Weber that I would play an open mic that he hosted.  As the concert date got closer though I became really, really nervous.  But I stood up and performed. "Plastic Jesus" - my first public performance.  It was bad.  But it's been easier since then.  

Last week I closed the loop by singing a Muddy Waters song, "Long Distance Call".  First of many more to come.  It was better.  I'm getting better, even my voice, which has gone from truly awful to merely unpleasant.  

Turning a boring work trip into something more.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The best campground in the Southern part of the forest is North Face campground at Celina Lake recreation area. 

Most attorneys love business travel because they get to bill for it.  They charge a couple hundred of bucks per hour and look forward to long trips by car or plane because their hour worked numbers are going to go up.  I don't charge for travel, so I sort of dread it, because all of the things that I know need to get done are piling up at the office. 

But - I try to have some fun with my travel.  I'll take a trip to somewhere boring and turn it into something interesting.  On Thursday I was in Evansville until pretty late.  Could have just driven home but instead I took the van and camped in Hoosier National Forest on my way back for a night, and fished Friday morning. 

Hoosier National Forest is, for Indiana, a vast swath of mostly undisturbed land bordering the Ohio River. It's not exactly majestic or awe inspiring, but the forest is deep and full of forest sounds and smells, and the campground is clean and well maintained.  Around the Tell City exit there are a few lakes, Tipsaw and Celina, that look like they could have some fish in them.  I fished Celina, but the recent rains had blown it out and there wasn't much to be had.  

I took care of some business and calls from the van on the way back home in the car, typical Friday afternoon light stuff.  If I had just driven back Thursday night I would have finished more work, but I'm glad I took the detour.